Christ’s Finished Work: Intercession of Christ

This is part of a planned series of writings on the topic of “The A to Z of Christ’s Finished Work”. I am writing it alphabet by alphabet. Thus far the others that I have written can be found HERE. Feel free to use it in personal or group discipleship discussions to establish the faith of believers. It can also be used to inspire ideas for pastors to use as a series of messages to strengthen the faith of the congregation. 

Fruit of the Finished Work

Christ’s intercession for believers is a fruit of his finished work. Without his death and resurrection, there would be no basis for intercession to the Father on the believer’s behalf. The basis of Jesus intercession for believers is that he paid the price for their redemption, the forgiveness of sins, once and for all, by giving his sinless life to take away the sins of the world. “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:33,34). 

Picture the evil one before the God accusing believers of their faults, shortcomings and sins of omission and commission. The accusations are not without basis and the believers have to admit to them. However, there is an Advocate, a defence lawyer in the heavenly courts who speaks us for us to God. He says in effect, “These believers have sinned in thought, word and action. However, I came to earth, and I paid the price for their redemption, the forgiveness of all their sins. Therefore, I intercede on their behalf on the basis of my shed blood, that they be forgiven totally of all wrongdoing, and that they stand before you clothed in my righteousness instead”.  God listens to Christ’s valid, effectual intercession and our sins are all cancelled out and we are acquitted.

The Freedom of a Forgiven People

This is why believers can live in the freedom of a forgiven people. They are far from perfect and do sin and fail daily, but they have Christ to intercede for them not only in this life but also on the day of judgment. “But if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation of our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world” (1 John2:1,2).“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25).

Following Jesus with such a deep and complete assurance leads to confidence instead of fear, peace instead of condemnation, joy instead of a spirit of heaviness. Contrary to conventional wisdom, this will not lead to careless, playful, deliberate sin. It does not. In fact, the opposite happens. Such generosity of forgiveness, empowers the sinning believer to again be aware of his sins and need, to turn to God and be even more grateful for Christ’s finished work, thus spiritually empowering him to love Jesus much more. 

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Christ’s Finished Work: Forgiveness of Sins

The forgiveness of sins is certainly one of the most precious gifts resulting from Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension. It is so important it was included in the Apostle’s Creed next to other fundamental beliefs in the confession of our faith: “I believe in…the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body”.

Resolving the Problem of Sin

Few realize the full extent of the consequences of our breach of God’s laws. It drove apart our relationships with God, with one another, and with creation. Guilt, shame, cover-up and blame crept into our relationships. We saw this with Adam and Eve. It caused them to withdraw from God even as God in his mercy and grace searched for and reached out to them. In mercy and foresight, God justly punished them for their rebellion against his rule, but he had in mind a future redemption plan for the whole human race. 

The forgiveness of sins resolves the key issues that block us from having an intimate and loving fellowship with God, with one another and a proper care of creation. This cancellation of the punishment that we deserved for our sins absolves us from guilt and grants us peace with God and oneself; frees us from shame and gives us dignity; makes cover-up unnecessary and promotes authenticity; and stops the blame-game and encourages us to take responsibility.

When sin is committed, the natural tendency is for us to try to atone for it by being good and doing good deeds. We want our good deeds to outweigh our bad deeds or at least balance out the deficit, so that we stand a chance before God at the judgement, or have a better reincarnation in the next life. This leads to uncertainty right to the very end of one’s life, no matter how much good deeds or philanthropy one does.  For example, for a bad deed like slander or lust after a married person, how much and what type of good deeds must one do to atone for each transgression. No one knows. And during the final tally, can we be assured that what good we have done outweighs the bad we have committed? Uncertainty at the day of judgment is fatal because it is final and there is no way to try to increase the shortfall in good deeds. 

For Christians, we have the free gift of forgiveness of sins when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence” (Ephesians 1:7,8). The forgiveness of sins is free for believers but for the sinless Christ it meant paying the great price of an unjust death on the cross, and taking upon himself the punishment that is due for the sins committed by all peoples past, present and future. That cruel death was not deserved by the sinless Jesus Christ, but in a divine mystery, is God’s way of making atonement for the sins of the whole world. The forgiveness we could not deserve or earn by being good and doing noble and charitable things, was earned and deserved by Jesus on the cross and made available as a free gift to all who would repent and believe in Christ’s finished work.

Repentance and Confession of Sins

Repentance is a change of mind and heart leading to a change in one’s attitudes and action. We have to be willing to change our mind about what sin and holiness is, about who God is, about trying to earn forgiveness of sins, and how we are to live our lives. This repentance process is accompanied in varying degrees with sorrow, tears, crisis of belief, conviction, confession, and struggles and this journey continues beyond initiation and baptism.

Forgiveness of sins does not depend on a complete confession of specific sins. This would make our salvation insecure and undermine assurance and joy. Even after being Christians, we constantly fall short of God’s glory and fail to walk in God’s ways. In thought, in speech and action, we daily fall short. Furthermore we are often unaware of our failings and the sins we commit and the good we omit in our daily life. Thus if our salvation is dependent upon a perfectly complete confession of specific sins, we would all be doomed should the Lord take us home suddenly. Even if we had time to prepare, how would we know we have confessed all our sins. Christ’s finished work perfectly atoned for all the sins of the whole world and must necessarily include past, present and future sins. Believing this is the basis of our assurance that God will not hold our sins against us should we suddenly be taken home before we had a chance to confess our sins.

Confession of sins is simply nodding before the Lord that you have wronged him, or people in thought, speech or action. Being specific helps us to know ourselves better about where we tend to be vulnerable to temptations. It replaces the sense of unworthiness and unconscious withdrawal from God, with assurance and peace and joy (1 John 1: 9). It also releases spiritual energy in us that so that we want to change in order to please Him (Philippians 2:13). 

Go and Sin No More

Forgiveness is a precious gift that enables us to live godly and follow Christ faithfully. Faith in the finished work of Christ liberates me from the fear of judgment in the future, of rejection in the present, and the condemnation of the devil about my past. Because my sins (past, present and future) have all been atoned for by Christ, I feel assured and certain about facing Him on the day of judgment and being with Him forever. I am no longer haunted by past sins no matter how shameful and evil they were. I live my Christian life fruitfully, with assurance and without condemnation because I know that even when I fail or fall, underneath is the embracing, comprehensive, and fail-safe net of God’s forgiveness of my sins past, present and future. Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered”(Psalm 32:1).

This blogpost is the 6th part is a series of 26 parts about the A to Z of Christ’s Finished Work. To read the other blogposts you can click on the below titles:





Eternal Life

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